Towards a lingua franca pedagogical model in the Hong Kong classroom: A sociolinguistic enquiry
Keywords: World Englishes (WE), English as a lingua franca (ELF), ELF multilingual pronunciation model, native-speaker norm, language attitudes, Hong Kong English (HKE)
Jim Yee Him Chan
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Jim Y. H. Chan is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where he received his MAs in English Language Studies and English Language Teaching respectively. Before his doctoral studies, he was a Science and English teacher in the secondary school in Hong Kong. His research interests include language policy, world Englishes, English as a lingua franca, language attitudes and English language teaching.
This paper seeks to evaluate the appropriateness of employing an English as a lingua franca (ELF) pedagogical model in the Hong Kong classroom from a sociolinguistic perspective. Notwithstanding the potential advantages of the ELF multilingual model over the traditional monolingual/monolithic native-speaker (NS) target in most ESL/EFL contexts, it is argued that implementing this pronunciation alternative could be premature without a detailed exploration of the sociolinguistic situation in Asia’s self-styled World City. By examining the socio-political, socioeconomic and sociolinguistic situation in Hong Kong, the paper identifies two key areas which determine whether an ELF pronunciation model is suitable in the local context, namely the local sociolinguistic situation and the issue of social acceptability. The first section of the paper seeks to explore the comparability of the English-using situations in Hong Kong to the outer and expanding circle respectively so as to evaluate the suitability of applying the ELF empirical research findings to the local context. In the second section, the paper discusses the local acceptability of Hong Kong English (HKE) vis-à-vis the exonormative pedagogical model in relation to the status of a NS standard in Hong Kong’s service-led economy and the issue of cultural identity. In order to bridge the gap between education policy and sociolinguistic reality in the local context, the paper concludes by posing questions that, it is hoped, will inspire a rich and engaging research agenda.